March 18-28, 2006 - Arizona

March 18th we drove 193 miles in windy weather to Safford, AZ and stayed at the Elks lodge.  There was a blowing dust warning in New Mexico, but it was not that bad.  Once off I-10 and on US70 we just had the wind, the dust was gone.  It was fairly scenic on US70.  Here is our spot at the Elks lodge:

We had a 15AMP circuit and had to put the satellite dish in back both for a wind block and to not show it to the outside world.   The Elks lodge was on US70 and there was a busy 24 hour taco takeout place in front, luckily the show offs with their loud motors didn't want a taco fix at 2AM.  With 15AMP we decided to go out for dinner and had an OK dinner at Golden Corral.

The next day, Sunday, was cooler and a bit wet.  We drove over the mountains and there was snow content to the rain as we got to the mountain pass (just above 4600 feet), but it didn't become snow.  There was snow on the side of the road from the big storm a week earlier and we could tell some had come down before it warmed up for the afternoon.  After 135 miles we were camped at Carefree Manor in Apache Junction, where we stayed both in March and May of 2004:

The saguaro was not in the way though it looks like it might be in the photo.  You can still see puddles from the rain which Arizona really needs.

The next day, March 20th, we drove the motorhome into Mesa for our service appointment and had Evita in the car with us all day.  We met Rich and Diane Emond of for lunch and were able to leave Evita in the car with the windows cracked and it did not get hot.  We did check on her, she was fine.  We had a great visit with Diane and Rich.

The dealer determined the inverter was bad, which was obvious to us, and did an oil change on the generator.  Since the Generac generator was in spec at 62HZ, they did not bring in a generator expert to tune it.  It might be in spec but it won't run everything in the coach at 62HZ, the washer/dryer will not operate on generator.  We might have to take this up with Newmar.  They were going to order a replacement inverter the next day.

March 22nd Gypsy John (http://www/ came over, we hadn't seen him since January 2005 in Quartzsite, AZ.   We spent a wonderful day together which he documented on his PDF blog as March 22, 2006 EVITA!! (off 

We learned on March 23rd that the inverter was due the 27th, Monday, so we extended at the campground until Tuesday morning. 

March 25th we drove to Globe and back via the Apache Trail.

Here is Part 1 of our Apache Trail journey.

Here is Part 2 of our Apache Trail journey.

March 26th we visited Gypsy John and our other friends Ray and Kay at their campground in Fort McDowell Indian Reservation.  We had not seen Ray and Kay since Quartzsite in January 2005 and we had not seen their now 8 month old Alfa See-Ya motorhome.  On the way out of the campground some javelinas ran by and one ran in front of us.  It is always fun to see them.

March 27th we found out the inverter had arrived and the install was scheduled for 10AM the 28th.  We made partial arrangements for stays for the next few weeks.

March 28th we drove back to the dealer in Mesa and they installed the new inverter/charger.  It took a bit longer since the rain was back, the tech had to work on it between rains since they did not have a covered service bay available.  We headed out of town about 1PM and drove 163 miles from our campsite in Apache Junction to a 14-day BLM free camping area by Quartzsite, AZ.  We came to the Apache Junction/Mesa area in the rain and left in the rain.  We also noticed someone had tried to cut the lock on our bicycle cables in Apache Junction and did not succeed.  We are glad we use high quality locks.

In January these BLM areas are full of RVs, they are mostly empty now.  We tested the inverter well here, including running the generator to make sure it did charge the batteries properly.  All seems well on the inverter front.

Here is our "campsite" just west of Quartzsite showing how few neighbors we had:

In January this area is full of RVs as it was in 2005.

It was windy in Quartzsite and warm enough we had the windows open until bedtime.  We were far enough away from I-10 so we barely heard it.  We were worried when a neighbor about 200 yards away starting having a conversation, one man was incredibly loud, but then they all got in a truck and headed into town.  The wind calmed down to breezy in the night.  We decided that this late in the season we need to watch out for hot weather in Quartzsite, we don't like to be hot and it made it to 80 degrees inside the motorhome.  A little warmer and we would have been running the generator and air conditioners.  We know the avid boondockers (people who do everything they can to camp without hookups) are quite tolerant of temperatures, another reason we are not avid boondockers.

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